Thursday, February 18, 2010

Is There A Link Between Thigh Size and Heart Disease?

There is, as shown by earlier studies, a clear link between heart disease and obesity or overweight. But a recent study had shown that there is a link between heart disease and thigh size.

Researchers from Copenhagen University Hospital reported on September 4, 2009 in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) that women and men with thigh size smaller than 60 cm (23.6 inches) were at a higher risk of premature death and heart disease.

They examined the data for 1,436 men and 1,380 women whose body measurements were taken in Denmark in the late 1980s. Over the next 12 years, more than 400 participants died and another 540 were found to suffer from either cardiovascular or heart disease. Men contributed to a larger portion of the deaths with a ratio of roughly 2 to 1.

Comparing to those with the 60 cm thighs, people with the thinnest thighs were more than 3 times likelier to die, and more than twice as likely to have heart problems. Survivors without any heart problems had significantly thicker thighs with other risk factors for heart disease like obesity, high cholesterol and smoking were taken into consideration.

The researchers concluded that there is a threshold effect for thigh circumference: if the thigh circumference were smaller than 60 cm, the risk of premature death would be increased greatly. On the other hand, for men and women with ham-like upper legs, bigger thighs do not seem to offer them any additional benefit.

With the new findings, the Danish researchers proposed that thigh size could be used as an indicator of cardiac risk, in additional to body mass index (BMI) and waist-and-hip ratio. Nevertheless, they felt that further research is still necessary.

Nevertheless, not all health experts would agree on the argument that thigh circumference could be used as a diagnostic tool. For example, there was a commentary also published in the BMJ expressed doubts that thigh circumference would be clinically useful.

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